Personal skills we’re helping our employees to develop and achieve
We understand that all our ‘Fourfronters’ are unique individuals.
So it only makes sense that we support our employees to learn and develop in different ways, doesn’t it?
At Area, we celebrate each other’s differences. Essentially, they’re what makes this business such a vibrant, progressive and inspirational place to work. However, this approach also means that when it comes to individual personal development, there isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” approach that suits every person.
That’s why we spent time reflecting as a business; taking time to understand exactly where our people needed some guidance in their personal development.
Our personal development training
In keeping with our ethos of ‘owning your personal development’, we invited our employees to sign up for a variation of personal development training; this was designed to help them build upon and enhance their soft skills.
To ensure everyone got the maximum value out of the training, we offered four 90-minute workshops that covered a variety of topics. The idea was that these would easily fit into our employee's working days - without interfering with them.
In such a fast-paced business we understood that not everyone would be able to take time out of their daily tasks. However, we were delighted that over a third of our people booked in for the training. The result was a diverse and representative mix from across the business.
Here’s what we covered in each session:
1. Achieving personal effectiveness through “brand me”
This session asked each participant to picture themselves as a brand. Basically, your brand is the way that other people perceive you and the expectations they form as a result., Most things you do affects your personal brand so it's important to reflect on it as it evolves organically. We asked questions such as:
- What do you want your brand to be? E.g. The Creator, Caregiver, Sage, etc. There are twelve classic archetypes that suit the various personas in our business.
- Can you share your own “brand statement”? This involved outlining your personal vision and mission with confidence and conviction.
- How can your brand create an impact, establish connections and build relationships?
This session really helped everyone get an understanding of what makes them tick. But this was only the start of the skills these sessions developed…
2. Boosting productivity and adopting a positive mindset
When we’re busy, it's easy to find ourselves reacting instead of sticking to the plan - it's only natural. However, knowing when to stop, pause and shift our thinking builds resilience and effectiveness. Attitude is as important as aptitude and this session was tasked with helping people to reframe the narrative when stuck in a stressful scenario - in or outside of the office. After all, well-being comes from a healthy work-life balance and it’s essential to reset the scales from time to time. To do so, our team learnt how to utilise the pause tool; a coping device that was developed by Sarah Helm, our learning and development expert. This is how it works:
- P - pause, pay attention to your body, thoughts and feelings
- A - assess the situation, e.g. what’s activating you
- U - understand the roots of your feeling and take a moment to self-soothe
- S - step into action and move forward with your plan
- E - evaluate the situation; what did you learn and what would you do differently next time?
This simple device helps you create space to think. And then you can go on to communicate in a healthy way.
3. Collaborative communications and conversations
As individuals, we don't just learn in a variety of ways; we communicate and respond differently too.
This session looked at our different styles of working, discovering which side of our people’s brains is more dominant, e.g. the logical left or creative right hemisphere. We took a deep dive into:
- Body language and tone - it’s not just what we say but how we communicate our words that affect each other.
- Positive reinforcement and feedback - focusing on what we do well can help us to repeat these positive behaviours in future.
- Everyday tools to use in situations - in particular, the ABC framework which is designed to stimulate a more collaborative conversation.
4. Tip-top time management
Did you know it takes around 23 minutes to refocus after being distracted?
That's just one thing our team learnt in this time management workshop. In this session we also looked at considering our daily habits; what we do may have become part of our regular routine - but is it helpful?
The good thing is that we all have a burst of productivity at some point in the day. And by following our natural circadian rhythm, we can plot our most detail-oriented tasks during these spikes. And any meetings or less intensive jobs can be scheduled for outside of the times when we need to get our heads down.
One time management technique we introduced in this workshop was Stephen Covey’s Time Management Matrix which looks at dividing tasks and activities into 4 different quadrants; a technique we are now seeing many of our Fourfronters use throughout their days.
It's all about understanding what works for you and your team personally. That’s how we get the best out of our people.
Want to find out more about how we’re supporting our people? We’ve got more information about our learning and development courses here.
Looking for a new career opportunity at Area? Join our team.
Group People Director